Walton Heath (Old) - Surrey - England

Walton Heath Golf Club,
Deans Lane,
Walton on the Hill,
Surrey,
KT20 7TP,
England


  • +44 (0) 1737 812380

  • Golf Club Website

  • 2 miles N of M25 J8, 15 miles S of London

  • Contact in advance - weekends limited


Both courses at Walton Heath Golf Club (Old & New) were designed by Herbert Fowler who was related by marriage to the founder, Sir Henry Cosmo Bonsor. “It was a stroke of genius on the part of Mr Herbert Fowler to see with his prophetic eye a noble golf course on the expanse of Walton Heath”, wrote Bernard Darwin. “It was in August 1902, that Mr Fowler had begun his survey. In April 1904 James Braid moved to Walton from Romford and in May the course was opened with a due flourish of trumpets,” wrote Darwin in the Biography of James Braid. James Braid remained the Walton Heath club professional until 1950.

Surprisingly, Walton Heath Golf Club was not given the royal charter, despite the fact that the Duke of Windsor was club captain in 1935. During his year as captain, he became King Edward VIII. Walton Heath is the only club in history to have a reigning monarch as its captain. His term as captain probably lasted longer than his reign on the throne. King George VI was also an honorary member and Winston Churchill played his golf here as a member from 1910-1965.

Walton Heath played host to the 1981 Ryder Cup matches between the USA and Europe. Team Captains were Dave Marr (US) and John Jacobs (Europe). The US Team comprised of players who held 36 Major Championship titles between them and they were simply too strong for the Europeans. Larry Nelson and Jack Nicklaus won eight points on their own while Nick Faldo could only claim a single point this time round. European debutants included Bernhard Langer, Jose Maria Canizares and Manuel Pinero but Seve Ballesteros (1980 Masters winner) was left out of the team for playing too much golf in America. USA 18 ½ - Europe 9 ½. The Ryder Cup was played at The Greenbrier in 1979 and at the PGA National in 1983.

This is where links golf meets inland golf. There is no salty whiff of sea air, but the course plays and feels like a seaside links. A profusion of heather stripes the edge of the fairways. In the summer, when the heather is in flower, it is an absolute delight to look at, but a real challenge to play out of. The greens are true and fast and the undulations make it tough to read the lines and the pace of putts.

This is a course that favours the lower handicap golfer. Some of the carries across the heather are quite lengthy and if you don’t hit the fairways, you can often wave goodbye to your ball. There are some really strong holes on the Old course – one of the best of the outward nine is the 5th, a cracking 391-yard par four that demands a solid drive that must avoid the thick, tangly heather shrouding the fairway. A mid-iron approach shot will find the green, amply guarded by bunkers left and right.

The last three holes are especially challenging, especially the 16th, a 510-yard par five, well described by Bernard Darwin in his book The Golf Courses of the British Isles. In 1910, it was the 17th hole and it was played as a par four. “We must begin by hitting a long, straight drive between bunkers on the right and some particularly rete ntive heather on the left, but that is, comparatively speaking, an easy matter. The second shot is the thing – a full shot right home on to a flat green that crowns the top of a sloping bank. To the right the face of the hill is excavated in a deep and terrible bunker, and a ball ever so slightly sliced will run into that bunker as sure as fate. To the left there is heather extending almost to the edge of the green, and, in avoiding the right-hand bunker, we may very likely die an even more painful death in the heather.”

Walton Heath has hosted many important competitions, not least the 1981 Ryder Cup. Unfortunately, Europe was thrashed 9 ½ - 18 ½ by America, thanks to the likes of Watson and Nicklaus. For serious golfers, this is a fantastic venue for a golf day. Lunch in the clubhouse is simply stunning, well worth donning the jacket and tie, but probably worth passing on the dessert if you want to swing properly in the afternoon!

Bernard Darwin sums up Walton Heath perfectly: “There is no more charming place on a fine sunshiny day, none where the air is fresher and more cheering, none where the sky seems bigger. It is a place where it is good for us, alike for our game and for ourselves, to play golf.”

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Reviews for Walton Heath (Old)

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Description: Walton Heath Golf Club is where links golf meets inland golf. There is no salty whiff of sea air, but the course plays and feels like a seaside links. Rating: 8 out of 10 Reviews: 55
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papa rabbi
I'm lucky enough to be a member at one of the great Surry/Berkshire courses, a work collegue plays at Walton and we are forever argueing about where to play! I love Walton Heath - either course - but the old is special...very special. The course is kept in sensational condition throughout the year: Sensational greens, great fairways, tough bunkers - oh and don't forget the heather! Do you best to avoid it! The club house has got wonderful photos from the Ryder cup all over the place, take time to go and savour them. The staff are friendly and the general set up is excetional. Make sure you get to play this course!
February 25, 2006
10 / 10
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Heath
A lovely golf course that is pure and simple Heathland. Old course opens up to a poor start with an average 1st hole, cross the road and it soon opens up. A gorgeous course worthy of its high position indeed. As others have said "Not nearly as good as Woodhall Spa".. On a par with Sunningdale Old and Hankley Common, but by no means better... Fantastic all the same.
January 29, 2006
8 / 10
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Mark Jeffery
Having played the New course in the morning, the day only got better playing the Old course after an excellent light lunch. The weather was bright but very windy but this did little to detract from how well designed and well maintained a heathland golf course this is and it's certainly tough but play a good shot and it will reward you. If you end up in the heather well there's no way back but a wedge to the fairway but at least it's beautiful when in bloom!! The condition of the course was excellent and the clubhouse and staff very welcoming. A must play course and combined with the New course provides a day to remember.
September 09, 2004
10 / 10
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Colin Jones
A lovely golf course but it should come with a government health warning for the high handicapper, largely for one reason, the heather. It's a lovely heathland course in gentle rolling hills. It is open and, at first glance appears to be kind to the wayward tee shot, but beneath ones feet lies the daunting heather that not only makes ball location tricky, but makes recovery shots even harder. If you keep the ball in view the course becomes more straightforward. Despite its apparent openess, the holes are varied in design, yet there are three or four that have a similarity about them. The 16th is a lovely hole and very different to the rest, with a challenging second shot with disaster beckoning to the right of an elevated green. On a windy day it's punishing, on a hot day the ball will travel miles on the rolling fairways, bringing both opportunity and despair in equal portions. This is one of the best heathland courses going and presents a different approach to the usual parkland courses around the area. The clubhouse is traditional and not particularly grand, but the facilities are excellent and the carvery is superb, one of the best I have had, plenty to choose from and wonderfully cooked. A nice straight par 3 as the first hole gives time for the extra portion of jam roly-poly to digest before tackling the tough 2nd. Worth a visit. CJ
April 12, 2004
6 / 10
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Billy
Quite stunning when the heather is in flower - fairways framed in purple - hideous to get out of mind! Condition always superb. A hard but fair course, greens are tough to read.
March 28, 2004
8 / 10
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